AFSC warns of devastating impact on communities
WASHINGTON, DC (January 8, 2018) Today the Trump administration announced it would not renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Salvadorans living in the U.S. TPS is a provision under which the government grants protection from deportation to people from certain countries afflicted by natural disasters, war, or other dangerous conditions. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for almost 100 years – condemned the decision.
“TPS recipients are integral parts of our communities here in New Jersey,” said Chia-Chia Wang, Organizing and Advocacy Director for AFSC’s Newark office. “The current administration’s threats to TPS are just another move to target immigrants and disregard human rights. We need policies that keep our communities together rather than tearing them apart.”
There are over 195,000 Salvadorans with TPS in the U.S. “We have deep roots and ties here,” explained Jorge Velasquez, a TPS recipient and leader in Colorado’s sanctuary movement. “Salvadorans with TPS have 192,000 U.S. citizen children, and we have been in the U.S. for more than 15 years. I ask Congress to act now to create a path to permanent status for all TPS recipients and the future of this country, its children.”
AFSC and others across the country have been working hard to save TPS – bringing TPS holders to Washington, DC to meet with elected officials, organizing call-in days, and holding local events.
“Local comités and the National TPS Alliance have been working for months to organize local bases and mobilize on a national level,” said Gabriel Camacho, Immigration Programs Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee in Massachusetts. “TPS has been ended for Sudanese, Nicaraguans, Haitians, and now Salvadorans, but there is still a window of time before people are required to leave the country. We will use that window to continue to mobilize.”
In addition to asking the Department of Homeland Security to extend TPS for all countries, AFSC is calling on Congress to take action. “TPS was the result of massive organizing and education efforts by immigrants and allies across the country,” said Kathryn Johnson, Policy Impact Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee. “We are now calling on Congress to enact a permanent solution that creates a swift roadmap to Lawful Permanent Residency and citizenship for all TPS recipients and the millions of other immigrants in the U.S.”
AFSC’s programs in El Salvador were also watching this decision closely because of the potential ramifications on local economies and communities. AFSC has been active in El Salvador since 2014, building local peace networks and engaging in advocacy on issues of displacement, migration, and human rights.
“El Salvador is not prepared to receive a large influx of people,” said Berta Guevara, who serves as Migration Consultant for AFSC’s El Salvador program. “Last year more than 25,500 Salvadorans have been deported from the U.S. and Mexico. The militarization of our communities, a high unemployment rate, and forced displacement due to violence means it’s already extremely difficult for people to reintegrate into society. Ending TPS for El Salvador will make it many times worse.”
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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.